Friday, September 26, 2008

Climate shift's silver lining

Published: Friday September 26, 2008

CARBON TRADING SCHEMES could be used in Barbados and the region to enhance existing tourism products, especially among those travellers who are more socially conscious, says Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy.

Many people are now refusing to fly to long-haul destinations like those in the Caribbean because airline fuel gives off high levels of carbon emissions, but the minister said he believed the region should see climate change not as a challenge but as an opportunity to develop new tourism products and services to meet visitor needs.

He was speaking at the fourth annual multi-hazard disaster management symposium, Tourism In Barbados – Responding To Climate Change, at Sherbourne Conference Centre on Wednesday.

"If our northern neighbours and traditional source markets become more tropical, then we will have no choice but to adapt," he said.

"I think that climate change coupled with the existing environment is the impetus for us to start developing these new products and services. Included in these products and services is a more eco-type of tourism and the greening of various facilities and activities."

The minister said lifestyle changes could also help to reduce the carbon emissions which are causing global warming to worsen.

"Technical efficiency alone could reduce the region's carbon footprint by 36 per cent, while actually changing people's behaviour could result in an absolute reduction.

"Green Globe is an international programme that challenges companies, as well as communities, to improve their environmental standards over time. Blue Flag is a similar benchmarking programme for marinas and beaches."

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Martin Cox, said the seminar was seeking to raise the level of awareness within the sector.

He added they decided to focus on climate change this year especially in light of the flash flooding which Barbados has experienced.

Cox said they could not only concentrate on storms and hurricanes, but had to assess the impact of climate change on the industry.

Source: Nation Newspapers

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